Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2017/2018

MA Honours in Business with Human Resource Management

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Full Accreditation European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS)
Final award: MA Honours
Programme title: Business with Human Resource Management
UCAS code: N1N6
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Business and Management
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Inger Seiferheld
Date of production/revision: August 2017

External summary

Our degree in Business with Human Resource Management encompasses the study of public, private and not-for-profit organisations, both small and large, their management practices and processes, and the changing external environment in which they operate.  In our four-year programme we reflect the global, dynamic climate of contemporary business and management, offering specialist courses in areas such as human resource management, entrepreneurship and climate change, drawing on disciplines which include psychology, law, economics, sociology and mathematics.

Students are able to study a range of disciplines outside business, particularly in years one and two, allowing them to develop a broader range of knowledge and skills.  A range of compulsory and optional courses examine topics in the context of businesses and of other types of organisation, including, charities, voluntary organisations and the public sector.  The ability to follow a concentration of courses in human resource management enables students to develop a specialism within the broader business degree structure.  All students have the option of studying abroad in the third year at one of our international partner institutions.

Students gain business knowledge and an understanding of the world of business, and more particularly the field of human resource management.  They also develop a range of transferable, intellectual and study skills which are appropriate not only for those aspiring to a career in management, but for those interested in the relationships between people, organisations and their environment who intend to pursue career opportunities within other types of organisation.

Our programmes are accredited by a range of leading business education organisations and professional bodies, and the School has strong links to the world of practice through research, consultancy and teaching, which ensures that our programmes are attuned to needs of employers and prepare students for the wide range of career opportunities post graduation.

Educational aims of programme

The educational aim of the MA Honours in Business with Human Resource Management programme is to provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate:

  • analytical and conceptual knowledge and knowledge of skills relevant to senior management in purposeful organisations. This knowledge includes that of the internal aspects, functions and processes of organisations, the economic, environmental, ethical, legal, political, sociological and technological context in which organisations exist and of the conceptual and analytical tools valuable in their critical analysis; 
  • the proficiency to practice integrated and multiple management skills, including computer literacy, independent action, communication, team-working and inter-personal interaction;
  • the knowledge and skills to address problems through flexible, adaptable, innovative and judgmental approaches;
  • a grounding in the key concepts across a range of specialist areas: business policy, marketing, corporate finance, accounting, human resource management, industrial relations, management science and operations management and business economics; with a specific focus on human resource management;
  • general transferable intellectual and study skills which will equip graduates to make a valuable contribution both within their chosen career path and in the wider community and to encourage a positive attitude to continuing development and lifelong learning.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

During the programme students will have been given opportunities to develop their knowledge in-depth of business and, in particular, human resource management.  On completion of the programme, students will have acquired a good knowledge and understanding of:

  • the internal functions and processes of organisations which includes their purposes, how they are structured and their governance, how they are operated and managed and an appreciation of their diversity. The behaviour of individuals and of organisations as a whole and their inter-relationships with their external environments are also included.
  • the external environment in which organisations operate including economic factors, ethical factors, political factors, sociological factors and technological factors and their inter-relationships with the strategy, behaviour and management of organisations.
  • the processes, procedures and practices of the management of organisations. This includes theories, models, tasks and roles of management and rational analysis and other processes of decision making within organisations and in relation to the external environment.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • understand the principles, methods, standards, values and boundaries of the business discipline and have the capacity to question these.
  • assess critically existing understanding about a range of areas within the field of business, and human resource management more specifically, and recognise the need to re-evaluate such knowledge and the limitations of their own knowledge.
  •  identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business problems and identify or develop approaches using appropriate quantitative or qualitative techniques to explore and solve them.
  • search for, evaluate and use information to form the basis of effective knowledge assimilation and synthesis within a number of business areas, with a focus on human resource management, recognising limitations resulting from the chosen approach.
  • use practical and theoretical knowledge to both design and undertake a piece of original research in the field of human resource management and write this up as a dissertation.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be:

  • independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning across a range of chosen areas of study, both within and outside business, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement.
  • open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking about business issues and, in particular, those affecting human resource management.
  • able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues.
  • able to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.
  • curious intellectually and able to sustain intellectual interest, through individual and group work assignments, in particular during the research and writing process associated with undertaking the dissertation on a human resource management-related topic.
  • aware of, and able to select and effectively use appropriate data, information sources and research methodologies to carry out research into business and management issues for projects, dissertations and presentations, either individually or as part of a team.
  • able to develop and work towards a personal vision and goals and being able to work independently towards these in a sustainable way.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • apply written, oral and visual presentation skills in individual or group projects as well as through presentations linked to lecture courses both within and outside business.
  • communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, using a range of media which are widely used in business.
  • make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding during individual and group activities.
  • use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others in a range of settings, including lectures, workshops/tutorial and group project settings, listening to colleagues, constructing arguments, thinking on feet and convincing others.
  • further their own learning through effective use of the full range of communication approaches.
  • seek and value open feedback from academic and support staff, as well as peers, to inform genuine self-awareness.
  • use effective communication to articulate positively their skills identified through self-reflection.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will be able to:

  • reflect upon themselves to recognise their personal strengths and the situations where they can best be applied.
  • identify opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge in key areas and recognise how and where to gain experience to build personal capabilities.
  • identify, seek out or otherwise create and harness opportunities in a range of areas relevant to their studies within and outside business.
  • manage tasks and skills in time-management.
  • be confident to make decisions based upon their assimilated understandings and their personal and intellectual autonomy.
  • transfer their knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another, using their understanding of the issues relevant and appropriate to each situation.
  • work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking, contrasting experience and complementary skills.
  • work with, manage, and lead others in ways which value difference and equality and which encourage their contribution to the organisation and the wider community.

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Business with Human Resource Management graduates will have developed skills to:

  • apply theoretical and conceptual knowledge to practical situations.
  • obtain and process information from a variety of sources.
  • take decisions in a range of challenging situations, informed by analysis of available information.
  • work with others in team-based settings to deliver a project to an outline brief.
  • plan and manage the use of resources, including time and people.
  • summarise large quantities of material to present it in report format for a management audience.
  • make effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for business applications.
  • communicate effectively using a range of oral and written methods.

Programme structure and features

The MA Business with Human Resource Management degree is an Honours degree taken over four years. It consists of two years of pre-Honours courses totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 8 and two years of Honours courses totalling 240 credits at SQCF level 10. The structure for each year is as follows:

  • 1st year: compulsory courses in Global Challenges for Business (20 credits), The Business of Edinburgh (20 credits), Accountancy 1A (20 credits) and Accountancy 1B (20 credits); the remaining 40 credits in Economics 1A, Economic Principles and Applications or Sociology 1A and Sociology 1B is recommended but students can take one or two other courses in other subject areas.
  • 2nd year: three compulsory courses in Business Research Methods I: Introduction to Data Analysis (20 credits), Organisational Behaviour 2 (20 credits) and the non-credit bearing course Career Development Planning; a choice from ten Business 2nd year courses with a minimum of two courses (40 credits) and a maximum of four (80 credits); it is also possible to choose a maximum of two courses (40 credits) out with the Business subject area.
  • 3rd year: compulsory courses in Strategic Management (20 credits), Business Research Methods II: Applications and Analysis (20 credits), Applications of Human Resource Management (20 credits) and Managing Change (20 credits); a further two Business Honours courses (40 credits) from a choice of over 23 options; a compulsory non-credit bearing course, Research in Management, to support preparation of the dissertation.
  • 4th year: Management Honours Dissertation on a research topic in the field of Human Resource Management (40 credits); two courses from a list of Honours courses in the field of Human Resource Management (40 credits) and a further two Business Honours courses (40 credits) from a choice of over 30 options.

For full details of the degree programme and structure see the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk. For details of the entry requirements see http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/applications-admissions/entry-requirements

Progression requirements for entry into Honours (3rd year): Entry into third year honours normally requires (i) passes in all courses (240 credits) in the first two years, and (ii) a mark of 50% or above at the first attempt in two Business courses in second year one of which must be in Organisational Behaviour 2 (not including Business Research Methods I: Introduction to Data Analysis).

For full details of the learning outcomes and assessment practices for each course see the Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study http://www.drps.ed.ac.uk. More detailed information on course content is provided in course handbooks which are distributed at the start of each course. In addition to the individual course handbooks, the School also publishes details of 2nd year courses and Honours to assist students in their course choices. A Dissertation handbook is also published each year.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

Teaching and learning strategies employed within the Business School and in other Schools where students take courses outside the business area, embrace of a variety of different methods appropriate to the programme aims. The graduate attributes listed above are met through a teaching and learning framework (detailed below) which is appropriate to the level and content of the course.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Lectures

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Computer laboratories

Yes

Depends on choice of courses

Yes

Workshops

Yes

Tutorials

Yes

Yes

Problem-based learning activities

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Independent study

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Peer group learning

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Poster presentation

Yes

Group projects

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

One-to-one meetings with course lecturers/tutors/ directors of studies

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Independent research for the Honours dissertation research

Yes

Yes

Facilities within the School

Information technology and other computer-based sessions are delivered in the Business School’s IT Teaching Lab at 29 Buccleuch Place.  The lab is equipped with 60 networked PCs which provide access to an extensive range of software packages and applications to support learning through teaching and independent study.

Non-Teaching Weeks Semester 1: Mon 23rd October – Friday 27th October 2017. Semester 2: Mon 19th to Friday 23rd February 2018

#make your mark During the semester 1 non-teaching week, the Business School will be running #makeyourmark - https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/makeyourmark/. A non-curricula event, #make your mark is run by University of Edinburgh Business School as part of its mission is to develop responsible leaders. It is a team based social enterprise challenge (spread over 2.5 days – Tues 24th-Thurs 26th Oct 2017) which aims to inspire students to view business as part of the solution to addressing today’s global challenges.

Students will work in groups (with students from the Business School and beyond) and are challenged over 2.5 days to develop their social enterprise business ideas which help to tackle inequalities and transform local communities. With #makeyourmark, we aim to contribute to Scotland’s leading role in social enterprise, research and innovation and is supported by a wide variety of corporate and social enterprise partners. Find out more about #makeyourmark 2016/2017 from the students who participated - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbcxhdwdeAM&feature=youtu.be

Festival of Creating Learning http://www.festivalofcreativelearning.ed.ac.uk

The University of Edinburgh’s Festival of Creative Learning will include a programme of events and activities running throughout the academic year, together with a week-long programme of events in February 2018 (Semester 2 - Week 6; 19 – 23 February 2018). During this week ‘normal’ teaching is suspended which provides space for staff and students to explore new learning activities outwith and complementary to the regular curriculum.

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 415850
Year 314860
Year 218820
Year 122780

Assessment methods and strategies

Courses can be assessed by a diverse range of methods and often take the form of formative work which provides the student with on-going feedback as well as summative assessment. The most common methods of assessment are identified in the table below.  A very small number of courses are assessed using only a single, written examination or coursework assignment: most courses employ two or more different forms of assessment, and a growing number combine both individual and group-based activities to develop both subject-specific knowledge and subject-specific and transferable skills.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Written Examinations (seen and unseen)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Essays

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Group/individual project

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

In-class Tests

Depends on choice of elective course

On-line class test

Depends on choice of elective course

Depends on choice of elective course

Poster presentations

Yes

Oral presentations

Yes

Yes

Yes

Written business plan

Depends on choice of elective course

Depends on choice of elective course

Dissertation

Yes

Yes

The classification of the Honours degree is based on performance in both of the Honours years (3rd and 4th year), unless the third year is spent studying at an overseas partner institution, when the degree classification is based on performance in the final Honours year (4th year).

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 432662
Year 361435
Year 268032
Year 174323

Career opportunities

A key aim of our degrees is to combine academic knowledge with transferable skills and competencies in order to enhance employability. Business with Human Resource Management graduates are highly valued by employers across the world and the employment record of graduates of the School is evidence that graduates from our programmes are highly sought after by a wide range of employers. Our graduates secure employment in a diverse range of fields, the most popular being human resource management, accountancy, management consulting, finance and marketing.

During the second year of the programme all students take the Career Development Planning course which encourages early thinking about possible career paths ensuring there is ample time to reflect on how best to develop appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to maximise the likelihood of securing employment in the chosen field.

Other items

  • All students on the programme are allocated a Personal Tutor, whose role is to provide advice and guidance on academic and personal matters.
  • All students have e-mail, which facilitates easy communication with academic and administrative staff.  Generous office-hour provision allows easy personal contact with teaching staff outside formal classes. We encourage all our students to regularly check their University of Edinburgh email address.
  • Opportunities are available to study abroad in the third year on a Business School exchange or University exchange at a partner university Business School; the Business School currently has around 50 exchange partners in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia.
  • First year students participate in an induction programme in Welcome Week for general orientation and introduction to study skills and learning resources. All students are invited to a School induction event at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Peer-Assisted Learning scheme (PALs): 1st year students are encouraged to take advantage of the School’s BizPAL scheme which consists of student leaders (usually senior students) who are trained to support and facilitate study sessions for those in earlier years. The BizPALs leaders plan a number of peer-facilitated activities to develop autonomous and enquiry-based learning and encourage students to maximise their academic potential.
  • Library, IT, computing and study-skills information packs, backed up by extensive advice and guidance on-line and in general.
  • All students are provided with e-learning and course materials via Learn.
  • In addition to the School’s IT Teaching Lab there are extensive library and related IT and data resources in the nearby University Library.  Additional computing resources are available in extensive open access labs run by the University Computing Service, located in the Central Area as well as at the Pollock Halls of Residence.
  • University support services include the Advice Place (run by the Students’ Association), the Student Counselling Service, Chaplaincy Centre, the Student Disability Service, Accommodation Services, Edinburgh Global and the Student Employment Service.
  • Active student societies including: the Business Society BizSoc; AIESEC (an international business society); the Student Industrial Society; the Trading and Investment Club (EUTIC) and the Entrepreneurship Club.
  • Careers advice is provided by the University Careers Service; the School runs a compulsory course Career Development Planning in 2nd year of the programme.